Hey Southwestern friends! Have you ever been selling or recruiting and gotten stuck mentally? In other words, you thought: “This can’t be done.” Or “Hitting that sales level is impossible.” Or “I could never approach that person for my team.” Of course you have. We all tend to limit ourselves at times–we get stuck in a sales comfort zone.
Here’s a principle of human nature that can be useful in these moments. NLP shows us that questions are the answer. When our brain hears a question, no matter how unthinkable, it automatically imagines an answer. Try it for yourself — pick something you don’t think you can do, or do well. Then, ask yourself this question: “What would it be like if I could do _________ really well?” Example: “What would it be like if I could sell really well?” Or “What would it be like if I were really bold when it came to building a team?”
Your brain automatically imagines what it would be like — it can’t help it. It’s automatic. And it moves your mind from the frozen position of “impossible” to one of, “what would it be like if…?” and that’s a much more resourceful state to be in. Belief is a funny thing. Our brain always looks for evidence to support our thoughts. We must be careful what we think about our sales ability or our ability to build a Southwestern team. When we make statements to ourselves, like “I could never sell like _________” (insert name of top producer), we tend to believe it. To ask, “What would it be like if I could sell like ______?” At once our brain shifts from “stuckness” to “unstuckness.” We imagine answers rather than limits.
After you begin to imagine what it would be like if you did have that skill or ability, then it might be useful to ask, “And how would I do that?” Hmmm. More potential answers and useful thoughts! You might decide to phone up that top producer and ask them how they do it. You might ask to follow them on the field for a day and model their behavior and/or attitude. You might ask them what they think about all day long and compare it to what you normally ponder. Once you get unstuck with the “what would it be like if I…” question, you can switch to “how” questions.
You can use this rut-breaking question in all areas of life. What would it be like if you could really be focused when you study? What would it be like if you could play Call of Duty 3 really well? How about the realm of dating: what would it be like if you were really confident about asking cool people out? Think about it. What works for you? Incidentally, there is a very cool iPad/iPhone app called Unstuck, which walks you through solutions.
Send me a comment! Southwestern is not the only context where this mental agility applies.